Jordan Zimmermann’s bit to become the only N.L. pitcher with 20 wins ended Wednesday with a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. The Nats’ righty didn’t have his best day, and unfortunately his teammates still appear to be sleepwalking a bit following their ouster from the playoff chase on Monday.
With the win, the Cardinals reduced their “magic number” to two to win the N.L. Central.
The Nats broke out first in the opening frame against Cardinals starter Shelby Miller (W, 15-9, 3.06). Denard Span drew a walk leading off and promptly stole second. Ryan Zimmerman bounced on in front of the plate and was thrown out, but Span moved up to third. After Jayson Werth walked, Bryce Harper singled to center to being Span home. But the rally ended there, as Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche both flied out with just the one run scored.
The Cards tied it up in the third. Daniel Descalso led off the inning with a double to deep center, took third on Miller’s sacrifice, and scored on Matt Carpenter’s ground out to first.
Zimmermann (L, 19-9, 3.25) ran into trouble in the fourth. He hit Matt Holliday with his first pitch of the inning, then gave up a double to Matt Adams to put runners at second and third. Yadier Molina then singled to center, scoring both. Pitching coach Steve McCatty came out to settle Zimmermann down and it worked, as he retired the next three batters in order.
But the Nats leading winner this season gave up a solo homer to Adams in the sixth, and that was pretty much the book on the three-game sweep for the Redbirds. Zimmermann went seven innings and allowed four earned runs on six hits. He did not walk a batter and ended with just two strikeouts.
THE GOOD: Not a whole lot. The Nats only managed five hits and looked rather like they were still playing with a “knocked-from-the-playoffs” hangover.
THE BAD: Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond were both 0-for-4 and stranded three base runners.
THE UGLY: The Nats have lost four of their last five games.
THE STATS: 5 hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. 1-for-5 with RISP, 5 LOB. E: Desmond (20, throw), 1 DP.
NEXT GAME: Thursday in Arizona at 9:40 pm ET. Stephen Strasburg (7-9, 3.02) faces Patrick Corbin (14-7, 3.28).